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Stoner slides out again, Melandri manages top ten finish

Stoner slides out again, Melandri manages top ten finish

For once it was the Marco Melandri side of the Ducati Marlboro pit-box where the smiles were on display at the end of the Misano weekend.

World Champion Casey Stoner crashed out of the lead at the Gran Premio Cinzano di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini on Sunday, having dominated throughout practice and qualifying earlier in the weekend.

Battling bravely through the pain of a scaphoid injury, the Australian lost the front end of his bike six laps into the 28 lap San Marino contest.

Meanwhile Marco Melandri heads to the US in high spirits after a confidence boosting performance, making up six places on his starting position to finish ninth - his second top ten finish in as many races - despite being forced off track by another rider in the early stages.

Casey Stoner - DNF

`It is very disappointing for the weekend to end like this after showing such a high level of performance in practice. Basically we took the decision to put one lap on the race tyre in warm-up this morning to get it scrubbed in: we´ve done it before and not had a problem but today I could feel from the first lap that the grip wasn´t right. After a few laps it started to feel better and I was gaining confidence but it let go. It´s a real shame but, anyway, we tried hard here and once again I think we´ve shown we are very fast, we have a great bike and tyres that work fantastically. This gives me confidence for next year and I´m looking forward to it already. As for the injury, it´s huge disappointment this problem came out but I´ll have to wait until the end of the season for an operation.´

Marco Melandri - ninth

`I got a good start but lost a lot of ground in the second corner because Chris Vermeulen almost crashed in front of me and I nearly hit him. But I have to say that the feeling with the bike was good from the first lap. I got past Alex de Angelis but I guess he was keen to get back at me and he tried a pass in a corner where it was too difficult to pass. We touched and I ran wide, losing a lot more ground again. Slowly but surely I recovered and passed a few riders but the group ahead was too far away, otherwise I could have fought for an even better result.´

MotoGP, 2008, GP CINZANO DI SAN MARINO E DELLA RIVIERA DI RIMINI, Casey Stoner, Marco Melandri, Kawasaki Racing Team

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